Karen David

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Karen David
Karen with black hair, tied up.
David in Cape Town, South Africa
Background information
Birth name Karen David
Born (1979-04-15) April 15, 1979 (age 35)
Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Genres Pop
Occupations Actress, singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1999–present
Labels AWAL
Website http://www.karendavid.com

Karen David (born April 15, 1979) is a Canadian-British actress, singer and songwriter, who is best known for portraying Francesca "Cesca" Montoya in the BBC television series Waterloo Road, and Layla in the American action film The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior.

David also starred in Pixelface, a CBBC children's television series, where she plays Alexia, the glamorous legend hunter.


Early years[edit]

David was born in Shillong, Meghalaya, India,[1] of what she calls a "Chinese, Indian and a sliver of Jewish heritage".[2] However, she was raised in Canada and then at age 17, David moved to London to study at the Guildford School of Acting.[2]


At age 20, upon finishing drama school, David joined the original cast of the West End musical Mamma Mia!. She made her professional acting debut as part of the ensemble and as understudy of Ali and Lisa. A. R. Rahman, who had been invited to see the show by the director Shekhar Kapur, asked David to assist him and Don Black in the development of the material for the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams. She performed songs on the show's U.S. and Canada tour, and continued collaborating with Rahman at his Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios in Chennai, India.[3]

She appeared in two short television videos, Dancers: The Trailer (2002), playing the role of Jenny, and The Paper Round (2002), playing the role of a policewoman. She then landed a role in the musical Bollywood Queen (2003), as a member of the R&B band at the story's center.[4][5] Through 2004 and 2005, she played Scarlet in MTV's Top Buzzer.

David played Lyla, a main character in the London-based film Take 3 Girls (2006). Other work during this time includes Steven Seagal's Flight of Fury (2007) as Barnes' Operational Soldier Flanders, The Colour of Magic (2008) as Liessa, the Dragonlady, and The Legend of Dick and Dom (2009) as Fairy Frampton. David appeared as the female lead, Layla, in The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008), filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.[6][7][8][9]

In September 2010, David played the Spanish teacher, Francesca "Cesca" Montoya, in series six of BBC One’s drama, Waterloo Road. While Waterloo Road was still airing, David landed the role of legend hunter Alexia Alderton in Pixelface, a CBBC children's comedy series about six video game characters and what they do when they are not inside their games. The second series aired on January 3, 2012.[10]

David appeared on American television with a guest role on the Fox series Touch in 2012, playing Kayla Graham. On the episode she performed the song "Three Little Birds", which was then released as a soundtrack single with Wendy & Lisa by 20th Century Fox TV Records on February 28, 2012.[11]

In February, 2013, David appeared in the two-part episode "Target" of the ABC TV series Castle, in the USA. David played Sara El-Masri, daughter of Egyptian tycoon, Anwar El-Masri.[12] Whilst filming these episodes, David and a stuntman were injured when the door to the moving van they were in failed to close properly. David was placed in a neck brace, while the stuntman sustained serious head injuries.[13][14]

In early 2014, David played the female lead in an ABC pilot, Galavant. Her role is Princess Isabella; daughter of the King and Queen of Valencia, who sets out to find Galavant.[12]


David released her first single, "It's Me (You're Talking To)", in 2003, when she was signed to BMG Music. This single was a top 10 airplay hit in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[15]

She collaborated with A. R. Rahman on the main theme song for the film Provoked in 2006. After working alongside Rahman to produce the soundtrack for this movie, she found herself back with him in his Chennai studio, in 2007, to write and record the song, "Alive".[16] The following year she released her first EP, The Live Sessions EP.[17] In 2009 she released her next EP, Magic Carpet Ride.[18]

In May 2010, David released the single "Hypnotize", along with three mixes and a Hypnotize Desi Mix EP.[19] The following year she released the album The Girl In The Pink Glasses. 20th Century Fox TV Records released "Three Little Birds", as sung by Kayla Graham (David), on Touch, on February 28, 2012.

In 2013 David released the EP Dust to Stars, on which she collaborated with songwriter-producers, Stefan Skarbek, Greg Wells, Carl Ryden, Boots Ottestad, Adam Argyle and Martin Brammer.[20]

Charity work[edit]

David is active in Designers Against Aids,[21] the SOS Children's Villages Foundation,[22] and Breast cancer awareness, for which she did a fundraiser fashion show for London Fashion Week at The Dorchester Hotel.[when?]

She produced a t-shirt to raise money for ActionAid's PoverTee Day, which was auctioned off on June 18, 2010.[23] In December 2010, David released a charity Christmas EP, My Christmas List, in order to raise money for the housing and homelessness charity Shelter.[24]

Along with others, David painted a self-portrait to help raised funds for Face Britain, a project of The Prince's Trust Foundation.[25]

Personal life[edit]

In mid-2013, she married Swedish songwriter and music producer Carl Ryden at La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes, California.[26]


Film [27]
Year Title Role
2014 Amar, Akbar & Tony (not yet released) Meera
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Penn
2012 Red Lights Dana
2009 Couples Retreat Spa Attendant
2008 The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior Layla
The Colour of Magic Liessa
2007 Flight of Fury Barnes's Operational Soldier Flanders
2006 Take 3 Girls Lyla
Provoked Asha
2005 Batman Begins Courthouse Reporter #1
2003 Bollywood Queen Neeta
Television [27]
Year Title Role Notes
2014 Galavant Princess Isabella Pre-production
2013 Castle Sara El-Masri 2 episodes:
"Target" (season 5: episode 15)
"Hunt" (season 5: episode 16)
2012 Touch Kayla Graham 1 episode
2011-12 Pixelface Alexia Main role, 26 episodes
2011 Strike Back: Project Dawn Barmaid 2 episodes:
"Project Dawn #1" (season 2: episode 1)
"Project Dawn #2" (season 2: episode 2)
2010-11 Waterloo Road Francesca "Cesca" Montoya Regular role, 20 episodes
2009 The Legend of Dick and Dom Fairy Frampton 1 episode
2004 Top Buzzer Scarlet 1 episode
2003 Holby City Eve Hotton 1 episode
TV/Video shorts
Year Title Role Notes
2002 Dancers: The Trailer Jenny
The Paper Round Police Woman
Year Title Role Notes
2008 The Making of The Scorpion King 2: The Rise of a Warrior (video documentary short) Herself
2005 Eureka (commercial) Police Woman
2003 The Making of Bollywood Queen (video documentary) Herself

Music videos and live performances[edit]

Music videos[edit]

Date Song Title
Aug 2013 Dust to Stars  on YouTube
July 2013 Daydreamer  on YouTube
Jun 2011 Superheroes  on YouTube
Apr 2010 Hypnotize  on YouTube
Jun 2009 Magic Carpet Ride  on YouTube
Jun 2007 Alive  on YouTube
2003 It's Me (You're Talking To)  on YouTube
2000 Higher and Higher  on YouTube

Remixes/radio edits[edit]

Year Song Title
Sep 2010 Hypnotize : The Almighty Mix   on YouTube
Sep 2010 Hypnotize : The Definitive Radio Mix  on YouTube
Jul 2009 Magic Carpet Ride : Flavasia Desi Mix  on YouTube
Jul 2009 Magic Carpet Ride : Radio edit  on YouTube

Live performances[edit]

Date Song Title Location
Aug 23, 2013 Superheroes  on YouTube St Pancras Old Church
Aug 23, 2013 Kaleidoscope  on YouTube St Pancras Old Church
Aug 23, 2013 Heartstrings  on YouTube St Pancras Old Church
Aug 23, 2013 Connected  on YouTube St Pancras Old Church
Aug 23, 2013 Dust to Stars  on YouTube St Pancras Old Church
Jun 7, 2011 Superheroes  on YouTube Soho Theatre London
Jun 7, 2011 Slow Motion  on YouTube Soho Theatre London
Jun 7, 2011 Pinky Square  on YouTube Soho Theatre London
Jun 7, 2011 Tom, Dick or Harry  on YouTube Soho Theatre London
Jun 7, 2011 Chinese Whispers  on YouTube Soho Theatre London
Mar 31, 2011 Superheroes The London Canal Cafe
Nov 30, 2010 Pink Glasses  on YouTube Rich Mix London
Nov 30, 2010 Hypnotize  on YouTube Rich Mix London
May 30, 2010 Hypnotize Indig02 Arena
Jun 1, 2008 Pink Glasses  on YouTube Wychwood Festival
Jan, 2008 Magic Carpet Ride  on YouTube Royal Festival Hall


Date Song Title
Feb, 2012 Touch - "Three Little Birds"   on YouTube
Dec, 2010 Silent Night (ft. Navin Kundra)  on YouTube
Dec, 2010 Baby It's Cold Outside (ft. Philip Martin Brown)  on YouTube
Apr, 2010 Hypnotize  on YouTube
May, 2009 Magic Carpet Ride  on YouTube
Mar, 2009 The Chennai Sessions  on YouTube


  1. ^ "Karen David Interview". Femalefirst.co.uk. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  2. ^ a b "Karen David goes from Waterloo Road to exotic pop..". Wandsworth Guardian (UK). September 17, 2010. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-06. "...Karen David, 31." 
  3. ^ "Multi Talented Karen David is Provoked". Asiance Magazine. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  4. ^ "Close-Up Film Feature". Close-upfilm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  5. ^ "Bollywood Queen - Movie info: cast, reviews, trailer on". Mubi.com. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  6. ^ Hainsworth, Jay (Aug 19, 2008). "She puts the "sting" back in Scorpion King". IGN. 
  7. ^ Sciarretto, Amy (Aug 19, 2008). "Karen David of 'The Scorpion King 2'". ARTISTdirect. 
  8. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (Aug 18, 2008). "Karen David Fights!". UGO. 
  9. ^ Kirkland, Bruce (Aug 18, 2008). "Scorpion King 2 interview". Jam. 
  10. ^ "Pixelface - Series 2 - Episode Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  11. ^ Fox Broadcasting (February 28, 2012). Touch-"Three Little Birds" ('Making of' video). Fox Broadcasting. Retrieved February 29, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Official Website". http://kd.innersanxtum.com/. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  13. ^ "'Waterloo Road' actress Karen David lands 'Castle' role". Digital Spy. 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "UPDATE: Seriously Injured 'Castle' Stuntman Slowly Improving". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  15. ^ "Karen David". Tubelyrics.org. 1979-04-15. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ [2][dead link]
  18. ^ [3][dead link]
  19. ^ "Karen David set to ‘Hypnotize’ fans in BBC’s Waterloo Road". SimplyBhangra.com. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  20. ^ Akeela Bhattay (2013-09-06). "Dust to Stars | In Conversation With Brit/Canadian Talent, Karen David". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  21. ^ "New Friend Of DAA: Karen David". Designers Against AIDS. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  22. ^ "Karen David's Charity Pledge". Thamarai.com. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  23. ^ "Karen David | Fashionista Barbie". Fashionistabarbieuk.com. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  24. ^ "Karen David set to release her new EP My Christmas List - Desi-Box.com | News, Music Videos, Interviews, Bollywood, Bhangra, Urban". Desi-Box.com. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  25. ^ "Karen David". Face Britain. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  26. ^ "Exclusive interview: actress Karen David chats to HELLO! Online about her wedding". Hello!. July 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Karen David - Inner Sanxtum". Kd.innersanxtum.com. 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 

External links[edit]